Before I supply you with a host of additional info with regard to this used Fender American Original 70’s Tele Custom, then I suggest you click here, click here and click here, to read three excellent product reviews – All reviews effectively cover most of my thoughts and comments – Courtesy of Guitar Player, Guitar World and Guitarist Magazine – I’m not usually into passing the buck when I list my guitars for sale, but in this instance, with a used guitar from 2020, then those 3 reviews are both valid and recent
Fender first introduced the vintage replica’s from the old/original Fullerton factory in the early 80’s – Since then, various replicas have been ever present and part and parcel of the Fender product range, be it from the USA, Mexico or Japan – Whilst the bulk of their sales have stemmed from models such as the classic black guard 50’s Tele, a mid/late 50’s Strat, along with an early 60’s Strat, other models crop up on a fairly erratic basis – Be it a Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Esquire etc – And for a while Fender released a replica of the Tele Custom from the early 70’s – Maybe somewhat surprisingly it is not available with a black finish, especially with its strong connection to Keith Richards for that model, in that colour – Also a touch surprisingly, in this instance, we have a replica of a guitar originally released in the early 70’s and part of the CBS era – Most collectors pay homage to models from the pre-CBS glory era, but over the years, various models from the early 70’s have risen in popularity and price – Hence the demand for a quality and indeed affordable replica from the early 70’s – Yet in a way this is a story in its own – For various reasons the 70’s have never been considered Fender finest period, many of them a very valid reason – Yet not all 70’s models, be it a Strat or a Tele were poor examples – Weight, poor body neck joins, plus thick ‘tar like’ finishes have not help their cause – But I’ve sold and played many models from the 70’s that can still be considered excellent guitars, with regards to playability, feel and tonal character – And to a large degree the big plus factor with such replicas is their consistency of build quality – Better weight selection, far superior body/neck join for starters – So in away they are not detailed replicas as they don’t have the build quality faults of an original model – They are more the model Fender wanted to make in the early 70’s yet in the main failed to do so – If you could find 10 original early 70’s Tele Custom models, to compare side by side, then you’d find 1 or 2 that are perfectly credible – Maybe 4 that are just about acceptable but nothing to write home about – And 4 that are just plain bad examples, that gave rise to the haphazard build quality and poor reputation associated with 70’s Fenders – With USA replicas, as per this example, you’ll find a far more consistent quality, playability and weight – Straight out of the box they are a credit to the brand
Additional comments and info regarding this vintage blonde 70’s Tele Custom American Original Series :-
- Whole guitar weighs 8lbs and 10oz
- Complete with the black vintage case, with stitched leather ends, amp logo with tail, ash tray/bridge cover, as well as a host of tags
- Slimmish C neck profile that gently tapers from .870″ around the top nut end to .916″ around the 12th fret
- At first I though we have a model with a one piece body, as no centre seam – But closer examination shows it has a one third/two third seam with the seam around the Top E string side
- Slight ‘modern’ concession to the original 70’s spec, to enhance the guitars playability – hence 9.5″ fingerboard radius, narrow/tall medium/jumbo frets, probably 6105’s plus bone top nut
- Regular features of a 70’s era Tele Custom include the 3 bolt neck with micro tilt adjuster, 3 pairs of steel bridge saddles, bullet truss rod, ‘amp’ style control knobs, F stamp tuners
- Cunife Wide Range humbucker – measures 9.86K – Single coil bridge pick-up – measures 7.02K
- Re-strung with a set of 10-46 gauge strings and set-up with a sensible fluid action
- Condition wise – It is not in that ‘as new’ straight out of the box condition – Yet a careful and detailed tour of the translucent blonde finish will be required to find any subtle sign of a blemish, or graze – I found a pin prick size mark near the treble horn/cutaway + ditto near the lower strap button, on the rim – Otherwise pick marks on the scratchplate are the only obvious sign of previous use
Playability and tonal character :- It is probably fair to say it has that ‘stiff Tele’ feel to it – Some might like to try a set of 9’s instead of 10’s to enable easier/faster/more controllable string bending – Maybe there is something about the Tele Custom, both regarding feel, playability and tonal character, that is hard to nail and I don’t mean that in a bad way – Those that want a 335, or LP, or a modern easy playing PRS Custom, will have already stopped reading my comments – But for those that want something that is different, yet not easy to define what it is, will have fun exploring the options of such a guitar – Maybe it is easy to say it is not a fluid, speed machine that favours the EVH, S Vai, G Govan style of players – But to me it suits the players that want to play tasty, simple melodic riffs and licks – JJ Cale, G Harrison, REM, Squeeze, Razorlight, Crowded House etc etc etc – Or for the players who want to dig in and attack their chords, Keef, Wilko Johnson, Bo Diddey style etc etc – It has a powerful, clean character to it that you can find on a Gretsch Filtertron, or a 330 style Rickenbacker – Not a copy of that sound, but a similar ilk – Tight, focussed, clear – The bridge pick-up is where you’ll find the twang, bite, balls and attitude – The neck humbucker is big sounding, crisp and clear – But mix the two is the best place for such a guitar, with the 3 way switch in the middle position – Blend the volume pots as required, then go back to the bridge pick-up, alone, when you want the aggressive, bite, balls and attack of the bridge pick-up – As I said, maybe I can’t define the exact nature of the tonal character – But I can say what it isn’t – It can be clean, great with less gain, yet grunge it up as required – For some players, it might be the only guitar you need – For others it can bring something different to the table and as such earn its place within any collection
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